There’s Gold in Them There Mountains

California has always attracted people from all over the world due to its endless supply of awesomeness.  From the early gold miners who traveled from the farthest reaches of the planet in search of a golden mineral, to the hippy in search of a liberal haven.  I have traveled here from the jagged mountains of Wyoming in search of crisp waves, frothy beers and snow-capped mountains.

Central California has it all.  In one day you can ski in the morning, then cruise west to finish your day off with a sunset surf, while still having time to refuel on some proper Asian cuisine midway through your epic venture.

Being a fresh transplant to this legendary state I decided to begin exploring immediately.  I first headed due north to the uninhabited Lost Coast for a little camping and some ice-cold Pacific surf.  In Wyoming to get away from people all you have to do is walk out-of-town about 10 to 20 feet, and suddenly you’re in the middle of nowhere.  California is a little different.

After a six-mile hike along  the coast we reached the first camp-able area which was filled with tents and jolly ole campers.  We hiked in a little farther and found a great spot nestled between a few pines and massive  bushes of poison oak, fully equipped with our very own fire-pit and animal remains.  We agreed it  looked like a suitable spot to rest our heads for the night, though we didn’t ponder the poisonous leaves.

The next day started with a cross cultural breakfast of bagels and humus.  We left the tents erect and set off for the waves only packing the boards and some grub.  The interesting thing about this stretch of coast is it was only passable during low tide.  A little frogger was necessary to make it to the break, but being children of interactive gaming era we passed this level with little problem.

After a weekend on the beach I felt it was a good idea to check out the still snow-covered mountains inland.  Instead of treading  the small pebble beaches of the Lost Coast, I soon found myself sliding across densely packed snow to reach this weekends hideaway.  A four mile skin through massive pine and spruce tree brought us to base camp, a Sierra Club Cabin at the base of Castle Peak.

After dropping off our heavy packs we set out for a quick lap before the sun set behind the Sierras.  Trucking up the thousand foot vertical last pitch, we had just enough time for a quick GU Energy Gel break.  After several hours of going up, we had reached the top of Castle peak and it was finally time to go down.

The feeling of the highly anticipated first turn is ultimate freedom.  It’s what the whole mission is about, the only problem: it’s over before you realize it, every time.

Back at the cabin we set up shop.  Cooking up some gourmet quality pasta, we played UNO to the wee hours of the night.  The beauty of skiing is you go to bed, wake-up and do it all over again and every time its different.  That is exactly what we did.  I’m going to like it here in California.

— Newest OPR Team Member: Jeff Howard

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “There’s Gold in Them There Mountains

  1. Jeff, great writing, story and the best pics, good to see you getting out there, you should do a piece on moving from skiing to working in this space.We would be happy to put on our site to help promote your pics

  2. One other thing, have your people put a search button on your site so we can find your work, for social media people make it easy to find you. Otherwise people have to look through all those adds.

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